Victor Maphosa and Elita Chikwati
Civil servants will start getting their annual bonuses this month with the last groups being paid out next month.
The payments are based on the 41 percent salary rise and new allowance agreed on Monday, with those increases with effect from this month, Minister of Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare Professor Paul Mavima said yesterday in a statement on the cost of living adjustment made by the National Joint Negotiations Council (NJNC).
Teachers are now included in the groups getting the 10 percent risk allowance.
In line with previous statements, the minister made it clear that while the Government had to operate within its revenues, it wanted to improve the pay of its employees as fast as its tax revenues rose and had agreed to formalise this process.
Minister Mavima said the council agreed to come up with a roadmap by end of January next year, informed by the National Budget, to continuously review conditions of service with a view to maintaining the value of salaries.
“The agreement that was concluded provides for; an average salary increase of 41 percent of the total package (basic salary, transport, housing, special civil service allowances, representation where applicable), effective from November 1, 2020.
“It also provides for the annual bonus that is inclusive of transport and housing allowances on a staggered basis in November and December 2020. Government prioritises the health and safety of workers in the public sector. It is in this regard that Government awarded a 10 percent Special Covid-19 Risk Allowance to those in the teaching fraternity given the predisposition to Covid-19 in their work environment. Teachers join other frontline staff who were already receiving the Covid-19 Risk Allowance,” Prof Mavima said.
All outstanding issues will be addressed, as negotiations between the employer and employees continue.
“I also note with firm hope that there is an agreement to continue with negotiations with a view to continuously improve conditions of service. As Government, we look forward to the roadmap, which parties to the NJNC are expected to conclude by end of January, 2021.
“I am aware that there are outstanding issues which still need to be finalised and that the parties have agreed to defer them to future negotiations. This is the spirit of negotiations as we must allow public service workers to enjoy some relief whilst parties to the NJNC continue to find convergence on all outstanding issues.”
Prof Mavima said issues like housing are long-term programmes which Government is determined to implement.
He urged all teachers to report for duty and deliver services to learners and regain time lost due to the Covid0-19 lockdowns.
“As Government, we appreciate the noble profession and will always attempt to provide better working conditions. Yours is a noble profession because you carry the future of the nation.
“To the rest of Government employees who continued and still continue to render essential services, we salute you for your determination. This is the spirit which will drive this country to success.”
Responding to journalists at the post-Cabinet briefing, Minister Mavima said he did not expect any teachers’ union to reject the agreed position as their leaders had agreed and signed for salary negotiations.
“The Apex Council represents all civil service associations and unions including teachers’ unions and therefore when the National Joint Negotiating Council, which
is a formal platform for negotiations that we have at the moment, agrees on salary negotiations, individual unions cannot come back and say they do not agree when their leadership has agreed and signed onto the salary negotiations.
“I have seen a letter from Zimta, which is the largest teachers’ union, suggesting a roadmap for teachers to go back to their stations. If there are other unions that are saying they do not agree, I will have to understand their basis for not agreeing,” he said.
Minister Mavima said Government had between February and November moved from where teachers were complaining of earning the equivalent of US$30 and US$40 to where now they are earning more than US$200.
“We need to be realistic, we need to look to our fiscal space, economic conditions and realistically demand things that leave us as a country with the stability that we have achieved and also saying how do we move from here to where we want to go.
“We want to give our teachers a status they deserve but it has to be a realistic process. All genuine unions who do not have other agendas than the welfare of teachers are going to agree to this roadmap and the country will move forward,” he said.